- Number 444 |
- July 27, 2015
Scientists for the first time tracked ultrafast structural changes, captured in quadrillionths-of-a-second steps, as ring-shaped gas molecules burst open and unraveled. Ring-shaped molecules are abundant in biochemistry and also form the basis for many drug compounds. The study points the way to a wide range of real-time X-ray studies of gas-based chemical reactions that are vital to biological processes.
Researchers working at DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory compiled the full sequence of steps in this basic ring-opening reaction into computerized animations that provide a “molecular movie” of the structural changes.
Conducted at SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source, a DOE Office of Science User Facility, the pioneering study marks an important milestone in precisely tracking how gas-phase molecules transform during chemical reactions on the scale of femtoseconds. A femtosecond is a millionth of a billionth of a second.
Researchers at DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a new method to manipulate a wide range of materials and their behavior using only a handful of helium ions.
The team’s technique, published in Physical Review Letters, advances the understanding and use of complex oxide materials that boast unusual properties such as superconductivity and colossal magnetoresistance but are notoriously difficult to control.
For the first time, ORNL researchers have discovered a simple way to control the elongation of a crystalline material along a single direction without changing the length along the other directions or damaging the crystalline structure. This is accomplished by adding a few helium ions into a complex oxide material and provides a never before possible level of control over magnetic and electronic properties.
A critical area of security is ensuring that something inside a container stays there. DOE's Sandia National Laboratories has made the job easier with an innovative technology that detects signs of tampering.
“In our world, one advance by an adversary can make a security technology obsolete overnight,” said Dianna Blair, manager of Sandia’s Global Technology Engagement, Research & Analysis Department. “The key is to stay ahead of the adversaries.”
Sandia has a long history of research into tamper detection and continues to advance the field, providing technologies to the International Atomic Energy Agency and others.
One next-generation technology is SecuritySeal, a patented method of tagging and sealing containers or doors.
A new recycling method developed by scientists at the Critical Materials Institute, a DOE Energy Innovation Hub led by Ames Laboratory, recovers valuable rare-earth magnetic material from manufacturing waste and creates useful magnets out of it. Efficient waste-recovery methods for rare-earth metals are one way to reduce demand for these limited mined resources.
The process, which inexpensively processes and directly reuses samarium-cobalt waste powders as raw material, can be used to create polymer-bonded magnets that are comparable in performance to commercial bonded magnets made from new materials. It can also be used to make sintered magnets (formed by pressure compaction and heat).